Immigration Dept: Over 80,000 M'sian passports reported lost last year
PORT DICKSON: The decision to impose up to RM1,000 fine to Malaysians who lose or damage their passports was made following the enormous number of the document reported lost last year.
The Immigration Department deputy director-general (management) Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman said a total of 83,617 passports were reported lost last year, a higher figure compared to 2017 and 2016 with 75,600 and 44,528 passports reported lost or damaged, respectively.
“This is worrying as passport is a national security document.
“Thus, the department has gazetted a fine of RM200 for passport reported lost for the first time, the second time (RM500) and third time (RM1,000),” he said, adding that over 2.1 million passports were issued by the department last year.
Abdul Halim said the fine was aimed at ensuring that passport holders were being more responsible and would not take the matter lightly.
“However, an exemption is given to holders whose passports lost due to theft, robbery and fire, provided that they lodge a police report on the incident. If the passport is lost due to carelessness, a fine would be imposed on the holder,” he told reporters after launching the Immigration assistant superintendent KP29 graduation ceremony at the Malaysian Immigration Academy (AIM) here today.
Also present were National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) chief executive Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali and AIM director Mohamad Fauzi Md Isa.
According to department’s statistics, Abdul Halim said 62,044 passports were reported lost while in possession of the holders, 5,022 stolen, 170 surrendered to agencies, 559 due to fire, 7,815 while moving into a different house, 1,203 during natural disaster, 1,949 kept in unsafe places, 4,682 dropped while on the go, and 173 left in vehicles.
On a separate matter, Abdul Halim said a total of 14,724 operations and 191,218 checks were conducted nationwide by the department last year.
“Following that, a total of 48,372 illegal immigrants were detained and actions taken on 1,468 employers.
“In the first 12 days this year alone, we have carried out 313 operations involving 3,476 checks, with actions taken againts 1,397 illegal immigrants and 14 employers,” he added.
The new rule, which came into force on Jan 2, falls under the Fees (Passports and Visas) (Amendment) Order 2019 of the Federal Government Gazette.
It states that Malaysians who lose or damage their passports for the first time will be fined RM200, RM500 for the second replacement and RM1,000 fine for those who lose or damage their passports for the third time.
Previously, Malaysians who applied for a replacement passport after losing or damaging their travel document were not penalised.
(Source : New Straits Times, 12 Jan 2019)